ASX-listed Alumina Ltd, which owns 40 per cent of Alcoa of Australia and is represented on its board, also declined to comment.
It would be a big acquisition for Aloft, which was set up in November last year to acquire Dutch smelter Aldel in a management buyout and create what it said would be a new international metals group.
Aldel is run by Chris McNamee, an Australian in his early 40s who formerly worked at Goldman Sachs and National Australia Bank.
The talks are sure to capture Victoria and Commonwealth government attention. Portland Aluminium, which opened in 1986, is a large employer in south-western Victoria, and has received plenty of assistance from governments in the past 30 years.
It is also Victoria’s largest electricity user, accounting for an estimated 10 per cent of the state’s demand. The group recently signed a new five-year contract to buy power from AGL Energy, Alinta Energy and Origin, which secured the future of the smelter until July 2026.
Sydney-based advisory firm Faraday Partners has been rustling up funding for Aloft. Goldman Sachs is advising Alcoa out of New York.